After scoring the game's first touchdown with 7:07 left in the first quarter, Olympian High School's offense never looked back. The host Eagles gradually built their lead as the game went on and beat Mar Vista 40-8 in the San Diego Section Division III semifinals Thursday night.
The Metro South Bay league champion Mariners finished the season with an 11-2 record.
Hundreds of Mar Vista fans filled the visitors stands, many of whom came to the game on a fleet of school buses from Imperial Beach. They saw junior running back Kenny Nieves go 80 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter for the only Mar Vista score.
Though the outcome wasn't what they had hoped, many Mariner fans said they were proud of their team. In overall record and in the distance the team progressed in the playoffs, the 2011 Mariners were the most successful team in the school's history, principal Wesley Braddock said.
Edwin Ledwig and Dennis Jauregua played football for Mar Vista in the 1970s.
Ledwig was a defensive tackle and Jauregua a wide receiver. Bud Harbin was a halfback in the 1950s, back when football was played in leather helmets.
All said this year's team was the best they have ever seen.
"Win or lose, it's the best team we've ever had," Ledwig said in the fourth quarter. "They made a name for themselves and Mar Vista."
Anthony Cosio came to the game with about a dozen members of his family to cheer on offensive guard Anthony Cosio Jr.
Together Cosio, his brother and cousins held up a sign at the very top of the bleachers for the Beef Train, the fans' name for the team's offensive line.
Cosio graduated in 1991. His son is the third generation of Cosios who have attended Mar Vista.
He said it was the best team he has ever seen come out of Imperial Beach and that he admired the coaches and the team's dedication.
"To come in on Thanksgiving Day [for practice], not too many kids would do that," he said.